The first day of Ghislaine Maxwell's trial after months of legal wrangling was filled with bombshell allegations.

The British socialite is charged with recruiting, grooming and abusing four underage girls for her one-time boyfriend, who took his life in prison before he could be tried on child sex abuse charges.

Maxwell, 59, is alleged to have gained the trust of teenage girls as young as 14 and normalised sex for her partner Epstein to abuse them between 1994 and 2004.

The full indictment against Maxwell lists six charges, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Maxwell, who has been held in a US jail since her arrest in July last year, denies all charges.

Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in prison two years ago (

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REUTERS)
Ghislaine Maxwell has denied all charges (

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RICK BAJORNAS/UN PHOTO HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Maxwell's lawyer compares Epstein to James Bond

Bobbi Sternheim painted a portrait of the billionaire paedophile Epstein in court as she opened the defence.

She said: “I said before Epstein was a manipulator, but he was also a mysterious man without attachment.

"He had no wife. He had no children. And he had no boss. Yet he attracted all these rich and powerful people before and after his fall from grace back around 2008.

“In many regards, he was like a 21st-century James Bond. His mystery has stirred interest.”

The socialite was friends with Prince Andrew

Maxwell 'imposed a culture of silence'

The court in the Southern District of New York heard the socialite imposed a "culture of silence ... by design" at Epstein's properties, where staff were told to "see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing".

While the "horrific abuse" was going on, the defendant lived a "life of luxury" - with the prosecution describing the alleged trafficking as a "means to support her lifestyle", the jury was told.

Assistant United States Attorney Lara Pomerantz told the court: "She ran Epstein's various properties and she imposed rules not to talk directly with Epstein.

"When she took charge of these homes, the rules for staff were strict. Employees were to see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing.

"There was a culture of silence. That was by design. The defendant's design. Because behind closed doors, the defendant and Epstein were committing heinous crimes."

The defendant 'served girls up for sexual abuse'

Ms Pomerantz accused Maxwell of facilitating the sexual abuse of under-18s.

"The defendant directed the girls into a room where she knew (Epstein) would molest them," she told jurors.

"There were times when she was in the room when it happened - making it all feel normal and causal.

"She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them and served them up to be sexually abused.

"The defendant was trafficking kids for sex. That is what this trial is all about."

A sketch of Maxwell (middle) between her attorneys Bobbi Sternheim and Jeffrey Pagliuca (

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REUTERS)

Maxwell and Epstein 'used massage to instigate sexual abuse'

Addressing how Maxwell would allegedly encourage the girls into sexual activity, Ms Pomerantz said: "Massages were the primary way the defendant and Epstein lured the girls into sexual abuse.

"But what was happening was not massage. It was sexual abuse.

"Calling it massage was a ruse. A ruse for the girls to touch Epstein.

"The defendant helped Epstein find these girls. She helped him recruit girls for so-called massages.

Maxwell 'lured teens with lingerie'

Prosecutors claim Maxwell sent gifts such as lingerie and discussed sexual topics with the girls to win their trust before encouraging them to give Epstein erotic massages.

"She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused," Pomerantz said.

Maxwell is accused of bringing girls to Epstein (

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Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Teens 'encouraged to bring friends to Epstein's home for cash'

Ms Pomerantz told jurors Epstein and Maxwell developed a "pyramid scheme" in which they would invite teenagers to bring young friends to Epstein's home in return for cash.

She added: "The defendant and Epstein were partners in crime.

"They had a play book. Firstly, they got access to young girls, then they would gain their trust, they would learn about their lives and dreams, they learned about their families.

"The defendant and Epstein made the girls believe that their dreams could come true.

"They made them feel seen. They made them feel special."

Maxwell is accused of recruiting teenager's as young as 14

Ms Pomerantz told jurors that Maxwell and Epstein's youngest alleged victim, who was 14 when she was "recruited" and referred to as Jane in court, did not know that "this man and woman were predators".

Of Jane, Pomerantz said: “She turned 14 years old that summer. She was sitting at a picnic table for kids when a man and woman walked by.

"The man introduced himself as someone who gave scholarships for kids.

“They asked Jane for her phone number. What Jane didn’t know then was that this meeting at summer camp was the beginning of a nightmare that would last for years.”

Pomerantz added: “This meeting was the beginning of that man and woman targeting Jane for sexual abuse that would last for years.”

Maxwell has been in custody since her arrest last year (

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REUTERS)

Maxwell not to blame for Epstein's crimes, claims defence lawyer

Defending Maxwell, Sternheim told the jury: "The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are for things Jeffrey Epstein did.

"But she is not Jeffrey Epstein.

"She is not like Jeffrey Epstein and she is not like the powerful white men and media giants who abuse women.

"Epstein is not on trial but his name and conduct will be mentioned throughout this trial."

Maxwell's lawyer accuses a defendant of being after cash

Sternheim alleged Epstein’s accusers had shaken the “money tree” in terms of applying for compensation from his victim’s fund.

Referring to the victim known in court as 'Jane', Sternheim alleged the woman refused to tell her story before and only came forward once the compensation scheme had been launched.

“Jane did take some flights on Epstein’s dime and she went to New York and some other places as well," Sternheim said.

"A month before Epstein’s arrest in 2019, Jane did not want to be involved in any criminal case involving Epstein.

"She hired a lawyer. She became a client, got in touch with the government and said she changed her mind.

“She is a consummate actress and is a pro at playing roles,” she said of the alleged victim.

“As her scripts and characters changed, so has the story you will hear.

“When money was on the line, she tagged Ghislaine. She got her application before the fund and she received $5 million."